This and That

October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month in the United States. See the full text of President Obama's proclamation here.

Here's my favorite portion:

“Though we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise.”

German publisher Karl-Dietrich Wolff, set to speak at Vassar College and Rutgers University last month, was instead denied entry into the United States. Apparently, his visa was revoked in 2003, which he didn't realize until he was held and questioned at JFK Airport for six hours.

Here's a portion of the story, found in full here:

Larry Siems, who is director of PEN’s Freedom to Write and International Programs, called the incident “frankly embarrassing.” He said PEN will continue “to protest the practice of barring international writers, scholars, and activists from visiting the United States based on their ideas and opinions—a practice the U.S. wisely abandoned in the 1990s, only to resurrect in the wake of 9/11. We urge the government to move quickly to review the cancellation of Mr. Wolff’s visa and to back away from a practice that both hurts our image internationally and violates the right of Americans to freely engage with a full range of ideas.”

And here's a dilemma that I'm trying to work through right now. After requesting a review copy of a book that sounds really interesting, what do you do when you get the book and can't find a single thing you like about the story, writing style, and so on? Do you go ahead and blog your negative review, even though this is an unknown, mom-and-pop kind of author?

Somehow, when I don't like a book by an author who already has a ton of loyal fans and/or a slew of literary prizes for said book, I don't feel guilty reporting that I didn't personally appreciate the book. I mean, really, why would that author even notice, let alone care, what I think? Unfortunately, my rationale just doesn't hold for an unknown author seeking readers.

What would you do?


violetcrush said…
Absolutely, I so agree with you, it does get difficult. I do post a negative review it it's not 1 star. But if it is then I'll probably email the author or the publicist and ask them if they are ok with posting the review.

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